There was a rat-face HR administrator, well that is what she looked like to me, sitting below my right arm. I knew the type, when I saw it. Truthfully, she was gorgeous, but the pained expression on her face made her appear otherwise. She was looking up at me scowling. I wondered if I had spinach caught in my teeth. No, I didn't really, but that is my favourite Miranda scene from Sex in the City that always comes to mind if somebody is looking at me quizzically. Was I unwittingly singing out loud? Alicia Keys, No One. It is a catchy tune, but no, I wasn't.
Pursed lips. Big eyes. I looked down at her without moving my head, like one might, if one hoped something in their line of sight might just go away. She had an expectant look on her face, as though she was trying to pass a kidney stone, that made the corners of my mouth curl up at the edges. She gazed up at me, as though she was about to speak. And as Catherine Tate's nan would say, I thought, "Oh, 'ere we go"
Then she was saying something, apparently, to me. My headphones blocked the sound, but I could see her lips moving. I felt a slight shiver up my back and thought, it is not going to get any better than this. I just knew it. Feelings, water. Clearly, she was addressing me and I assumed, I was supposed to be interested in what she was saying, nay, supposed to listen to what she was saying. So, I pulled my head phones from my ears.
"Can you change handles," she said pointing to my right hand holding the strap above her head. "It is just if the tram stops suddenly you might elbow me in the head."
My first thought was, Are you serious? My second was, should I check for hidden cameras? By the strained look on her face, apparently, she was serious. "I'm sorry?" I said.
"If the tram stops suddenly, you might elbow me in the head."
The woman next to me cleared her throat. Rightly, or wrongly, I took it to mean that she just couldn't quite believe what she was hearing either.
My next thought was, Suck it up buttercup.
My elbow was a metre from her head. I had more chance of getting her in the missionary position if the tram stopped suddenly than my elbow connecting with her empty head. That prompted a smile across my face, which I was very keen to stifle. I wondered if, suddenly, I was looking as constipated as she did.
"I'll be very careful," I said.
I put my headphones back into my ears. But she appeared to speak again. She continued speaking. Apparently, I had to listen to what she was saying. I exhaled, something Sam knows very well, and I pulled my headphones from my ears once again. "I'm really very nervous about your elbow," she said. "I think it would be a kind thing for you to do…" She pointed at the strap above my right shoulder. "To change hands."
"Apparently," I said. I proceeded to put my earphones back into my ears.
"No, don't do that," she squawked.
I could feel myself pull my head back and away from her as if reacting to being told what to do.
"I really think you should consider this from my point of view."
"Yes, I have picked up on that."
I put my left ear piece back in.
"No, no, no, please just change hands and we can all have a safe tram ride."
I put my headphones back in. As I said, the tram was crowded and there was another person next to me, with their back to me, who was wearing headphones, who could not hear our conversation, who was taking up the space I would have needed to use if I was to use the other handle. Besides, princess was just being ridiculous.
She was then making faces, as though she couldn't believe me. She was gesticulating with her hands in mid air and looking at me as though her frustration levels were just too much to bare.
Oh princess, I thought. Maybe that was the first time anybody had, actually, said no to you. She was really beautiful, if she could have dropped the ugly attitude.
She clearly wasn't finished. She was indicating for me to listen to her again, so again I took my ear pieces out.
"I just want to tell you," she said as she stood up. Was she getting off, or was she going to hit me? "You are one of the rudest people I have ever had the misfortune to meet." Then she did a kind of pirouette, her gorgeous long hair flicking at me, and the other woman to my right, like the devil's fingers might do if Satan swished his hand in midair. The woman next to me, and I, did a kind of horizontal Mexican Wave with our heads to avoid the flying split ends. Princess turned towards the door. She had on skin tight black tights, so tight that you could practically tell if she shaved, or not, stretched across her perfect figure. She had on a very short black leather jacket over that. Her hair was perfect, her figure was flawless.
"Hey luv," I said. I was somewhat taken aback by my camp use of the word luv, so clearly in public, I wondered if I was suddenly sounding like Mr Humphries on a tram? It was probably better that way, though, as I was too distracted by my apparent gayness to check the next thing that just tumbled from my mouth. She looked back momentarily, but long enough. I pointed with my chin. "You're a bit fat for that outfit."
The woman standing next to me inhaled sharply at my quip.
"Like…" Princess open and closed her mouth. She now resembled one of those Japanese animations with those impossibly large eyes. “Whatever!” She swished her hair around again, the woman next to me, and I, Mexican waved our heads again, and Princess exited the car.
I knew the fat quip was, quite possibly, out of line in this day and age, so I gingerly stole a glance at the woman next me. She smiled, giggled even, so, rightly, or wrongly, I took that as approval from the sisterhood for my non-PC comeback.
I put my headphones back in. Alicia Keys sang, Where Do We Go From Here. I chuckled, conspiring with Alicia. I got off at the next stop without making eye contact with any of the other passengers.